Creativity isn’t always about creating or inventing, sometimes it’s just how we respond or handle specific situations.

Dear Reader,

How are you? Are you getting used to the new normal? I don’t know if “new normal” is really the case yet, but it sure does feel a lot more normal than last summer.

When I think back to last year’s summer and the first lockdown of spring 2020, I immediately think of the toilet paper drama, and I remember my optimism, thinking: “This might last a month or two.” However, I think we all found out pretty quickly that it was a bit more serious than that. 

And now that it feels like the pandemic might be slowly coming to an end, I have started reflecting a lot on this past year. I really want to remember all the things I learned during the lockdown, like the new habits and insights I’ll take with me into this new normal. For example, I started writing letters to the friends I couldn’t visit anymore, even though we live in the same city. This was a really fun creative outlet for me, something I probably wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t for the lockdown. What do you remember most about the first lockdown? Did you also feel optimistic at the beginning?

My own creative outlet of letter writing led me to think about creativity during the lockdown in general. Creativity isn’t always about creating or inventing, sometimes it’s just how we respond or handle specific situations. Working from home really challenged our creativity and how we use our spaces. Everyday creativity helps us adapt to different situations within our homes. Living spaces used to be places of relaxation and escape, and during the lockdown, those spaces also became your office, lecture hall, restaurant, and club. Even if no one physically enters your bubble (or leaves for that matter), your space is still infiltrated by all these different roles and situations. Our ability to adapt stems from our creativity, this needs to be embraced!

I wanted to explore this, not just our creativity but also the lockdown experience in general. I know a lot about my own lockdown experiences, and my new found creativity. However, just looking at my own experiences didn’t give me any new insights or challenges, so I decided to make a collection of the experiences and insights of others. This collection can be a way for people to reflect on their own experiences and new found creativity. With these insights a sort of Time Capsule can be created, a time capsule to look back on and reflect on the past year. Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I would like to invite you to participate in creating this Time Capsule. This capsule will be filled with lockdown experiences and creativity, specifically from Rotterdammers, a capsule where our newfound creativity is showcased and embraced. By creating a time capsule, I hope to capture many different experiences of the lockdown in Rotterdam one that can be looked back on, in which Rotterdammers can recognize themselves and their own experiences.

But I can already hear you thinking: How can I view this Capsule? And how will this become accessible to every Rotterdammer?

Well! There will be two versions of the Time Capsule, an online collection accessible to everyone through Instagram (@dearreadercollectie), and a physical collection: Which will be sent out to the first couple of participants to send in their entries before the deadline on the 10th of August. The entries will get translated into postcards and will get shipped to you in a hand painted box! This way, the capsule can be shared physically. If you don’t have the opportunity to send something in before this deadline, the online collection will feature all of the postcards as well as any work sent in after the deadline as an online only entry. Finally, there will be another letter written and published by the end of August, sharing the full collection and what we can learn from it! The first pilot round of the capsule is already up on the Instagram page so be sure to check it out. 

So, I would like to encourage you to reflect on the lockdown, and how you dealt with it. What were the positive and negative experiences? The good memories and the not-so-good memories… Reflect on the past year and think about how you can share your insights and experiences in an image. Maybe you have a photo of creative solutions in your home, a new hobby you picked up, creative ways of communication or, if you are a maker, how did your practice change during isolation. Of course, I also encourage you to create something specifically for the time capsule. This can all be done anonymously if you wish!

I hope to hear from you soon!

Lots of love,


Send your image (preferably as a jpeg), a one-sentence statement, your name and Instagram handle (or let me know if you wish to remain anonymous), and your address to before or on 10 August (10-08-21) to be part of the of the physical time capsule! I will then contact you about receiving the postcard collection and any final details!

And if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to send me an e-mail! 

This letter has been written by Lotte van Dooremalen as a part of her graduation project at Willem de Kooning Academy.

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